When it comes to Shakespeare- keep it REAL
One of the most "used" strategies that many English teachers like to employ when teaching the works of William Shakespeare are parallel texts- those with translations into modern lingo or even altogether new characters involved with a parallel plot.
While this may lower an affective filter for some, I say KEEP IT REAL- give them the real stuff. The challenge is overshadowed by the cleverness of the Shakespearean text!
There are some tremendous works out there that can serve as a frontloading device to great works, in particular, The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. For instance, Sharon Draper's Romiette and Julio and Mary Pearson's Scribbler of Dreams. But forgoing the actual text robs even intervention level readers the opportunities to make connections to allusions and predict plot events through clever foreshadowing.
I have been teaching Romeo and Juliet for the 12th time and have been enjoying the thrill of watching my most reluctant readers "get it" and wanting more! They are not even interested in watching any video versions of the tragedy!
That being said, these same students ARE in fact reading Romiette and Julio and will be writing to compare and contrast elements of both works. However, I am hearing that they are enjoying reading the "real thing" far more :-)
Give the REAL thing!